Local News

  • New MRI could aid wounded soldiers, Third World kids

    Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory are developing an ultra-low-field Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) system that could be low-power and lightweight enough for forward deployment on the battlefield and to field hospitals in the World’s poorest regions.
    “MRI technology is a powerful medical diagnostic tool,” said Michelle Espy, the Battlefield MRI (bMRI) project leader, “ideally suited for imaging soft-tissue injury, particularly to the brain.”
    But hospital-based MRI devices are big and expensive, and require considerable infrastructure, such as large quantities of cryogens like liquid nitrogen and helium, and they typically use a large amount of energy.
    “Standard MRI machines just can’t go everywhere,” Espy said. “Soldiers wounded in battle usually have to be flown to a large hospital and people in emerging nations just don’t have access to MRI at all.  We’ve been in contact with doctors who routinely work in the Third World and report that MRI would be extremely valuable in treating pediatric encephalopathy, and other serious diseases in children.”
    So the Los Alamos team started thinking about a way to make an MRI device that could be relatively easy to transport, set up, and use in an unconventional setting.

  • Nature center opens its doors

    Rain showers hovering over Los Alamos Wednesday could not dampen the spirits of the crowd waiting expectantly for the ribbon cutting for the Los Alamos nature center.
    The project has been five years in the making, since retired Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC) board President Chick Keller saw an advertisement announcing that the county was accepting applications for capital improvement projects (CIP).
    “Immediately the whole weight of PEEC’s expertise had to come in and we just kept working and we hired a few more people,” Keller said. “And the volunteers — there has just been hundreds and hundreds of hours of planning going into all this. And I can’t name the number of people who have been involved.”
    Current board President Felicia Orth also stressed the collective efforts of not only founding and subsequent board members, but dozens of volunteers. Those supporters not only helped determine the design for the visually stunning structure but donated time, money and expertise to the developing exhibits inside and out.

  • Charter introduced for proposed environmental committee

    At the beginning of the year, Los Alamos resident Reid Priedhorsky got up at a school board meeting and asked why there were far fewer trees on the new Aspen Elementary School campus, theorizing that some died to construction-related causes.
    While administration officials acknowledged that some trees were indeed removed to make room for the new campus, others died from tree beetle attacks and lack of water.
    In any case, Priedhorsky succeeded in getting a dialogue going about how public oversight on environmental issues can be introduced into school construction projects.
    Priedhorksy and others proposed a committee be formed. At a recent school board meeting, a charter for the proposed committee, “The Los Alamos Public Schools Natural Resources Committee,” was discussed.
    While it seemed that Priedhorsky and others wanted a committee without district employees or members of the Los Alamos School Board on it, board member thought that wasn’t a good idea.
    “I think it’s very important for us to send a message back to the steering committee that ‘no, you work under the guidance of the board, you report back to the board,’ ” said board Vice President Matt Williams at the meeting.

  • Today in history April 23
  • Briefing will be streamed Thursday

    At 5:30 p.m. Thursday, the Department of Energy will host a town hall meeting in Los Alamos to discuss the Accident Investigation Board findings from the Feb. 14, 2014, drum breach at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.
    Members of the Accident Investigation Board will present the findings and answer questions.
    The Los Alamos meeting will be broadcast live on radio stations KRSN 1490 AM and FM 107.1. It also will be audiostreamed live on KRSN's website, krsnam1490.com.

    Questions from listeners can be emailed to toni.chiri@nnsa.doe.gov

    A video of the meeting will be posted to YouTube on Friday under the title Los Alamos AIB Town Hall.

    The Los Alamos town hall is the second of two public meetings following the AIB’s release of its Phase II Report on the WIPP event.

  • Update 4-22-15

    GOP meeting

    The Republican Party of Los Alamos will host its biennial organization convention at 7 p.m. Thursday at UNM-Los Alamos. All registered Republicans are invited to attend. Call Robert Gibson at 662-3159 for more information.

    Docent training

    The Los Alamos Historical Society will host History Docent Training from 3-4 p.m. Thursday at the Hans Bethe house, 1350 Bathtub Row. Anyone interested in volunteering as a docent is invited to attend.

    Budget hearings

    The Los Alamos County budget hearings for FY16 will continue Monday in council chambers. Meeting time is scheduled for 6 p.m.

    School board

    The Los Alamos School Board will hold a board meeting and work session Thursday at 5:30 p.m. The meeting will be at Chamisa Elementary School in White Rock.

    APP board

    The Arts In Public Places Board will meet at the municipal building Thursday. Meeting time is 5:30 p.m.

    Shred Day

    The Pajarito Environmental Education Center will host a “shred day” at the Reel Deal Theater Saturday. A shred truck will be parked in the theater parking lot for those wishing to destroy CDs, video tapes, microfiche and other types of fabrics and plastics. For more information, call Sandra West at 695-2579.

  • State Briefs 4-22-15

    Heinrich introduces transmission legislation

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Federal regulators would have narrow authority to approve new electric transmission lines in certain circumstances under a measure introduced in Congress.
    U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich says his bill would ensure that transmission projects get timely regulatory approvals. The New Mexico Democrat says that’s critical, especially when multiple jurisdictions are involved.
    Under an order issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, transmission providers must participate in a regional planning process and develop methods for allocating the costs of a new regional transmission facility among those who will use or benefit from it.
    Heinrich’s bill would require developers of new priority regional transmission projects to first seek approval from local or state authorities. If approval doesn’t come within a year, the bill would allow FERC to step in and provide backstop authority.

    Universities, health center participate in obesity project

  • Hope 4 Hope

    Los Alamos Elks Lodge 2083 held a fundraiser dinner for well-known Los Alamos resident and former Los Alamos Monitor sales representative Hope Wagner Jaramillo last week to help her with travel expenses as she fights an undisclosed illness. Jaramillo, right, stops for a photo with past Elks Lodge 2083’s Exalted Ruler, Lisa Harris and Tonya Sprouse-Mullins.
    To help Jaramillo in her fight, residents are welcome to donate at gofundme.com/hope4hope.

  • PNM defends plans for San Juan plant

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — New Mexico’s largest electric provider is defending its plan to replace power from part of an aging coal-fired plant with a mix of coal, natural gas, nuclear and solar generation.
    Critics, including environmentalists and consumer advocates, counter that the plan isn’t in the best interest of ratepayers.
    Public Service Co. of New Mexico said Monday in a filing with state regulators that rejecting the plan could jeopardize the continued operation of the San Juan Generating Station and end up costing customers more.
    The utility’s objections follow the recommendation last week of a hearing examiner who suggested the plan not be approved by the Public Regulation Commission unless changes are made. The examiner cited uncertainty surrounding the ownership makeup of the plant and the lack of a coal-supply contract beyond 2017.
    It could be another month before a final vote is taken.
    Two units at the San Juan plant are scheduled to close in 2017 under an agreement with federal and state officials to curb haze-causing pollution.

  • Departments get tentative approval

    The Los Alamos County Council began the process of tentatively approving departmental budgets on Tuesday.
    Those budgets will not be finalized until council reviews and approves the entire budget with the changes they have incorporated, which is scheduled to happen next Tuesday. But some of the proposed budgets, such as those of the county council and municipal court, sailed through approval without fanfare.
    For others, such as the county manager’s office budget, consensus was only reached after considerable debate and weighing of substitute motions.
    The combination of the complexity of the county manager’s office along with various councilor priorities made that discussion one of the longest agenda items Tuesday. Communications and public relations, human resources, budget and performance and risk management all come under that umbrella.
    The manager’s office also oversees the county’s Progress through Partnering program, which funds contributions to the North Central Regional Transit District (NCRTD), the Regional Economic Development Initiative (REDI) and the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities.
    Four proposed budget changes came into play for that department.